How COVID-19 is impacting advertising

Whilst the current pandemic is an uncertain time with lots of unknowns for individuals and businesses, we are trying to keep up-to-date with how Coronavirus is impacting the advertising world.

We’ve seen global epidemics in previous years, but none have caught as much attention as Coronavirus has. According to Google, “since the first week of February, search interest in coronavirus increased by +260% globally.” While spikes in search trends are common during events of this scale, there have also been surges in traffic for certain products and topics as a result of the pandemic.

For example, searches for DIY and craft items have gone up and so have searches for household staples such as flour. Of course companies selling hand sanitiser or other disinfectant products will have likely seen a massive surge, particularly at the start of the pandemic.

Whilst some businesses have been negatively impacted by Coronavirus, such as restaurants and some bricks and mortar stores, some businesses are having more positive results. For businesses that sell cleaning products, PPE, food and drink, crafting supplies, DIY supplies and anything really that keeps people entertained, there is still hope.

For example, the image below shows how much searches for table tennis tables and pool tables peaked in March and April this year as the UK entered a longer lockdown.

In terms of cost for ads on platforms though, the results do differ depending on industry and product. On the one hand, some companies are fighting fiercely to be seen first for certain search terms that are now popular during the pandemic. Whilst on the other hand, many businesses are decreasing their marketing budgets and this decline in the competition is leading to a drop of up to 47% in CPM and CPC prices in some cases.

As mentioned above, people want to be entertained and so those offering products on Google Shopping are likely to see an increase in volume over the coming weeks and months.

Should you stop advertising during Coronavirus?

Whilst we understand that this is a tough time for many businesses, simply stopping any form of marketing (including PPC) can sometimes do more harm than good. Also, consumers don’t want us to stop. In a survey, only 8% of consumers thought brands should stop advertising and the key takeaway was that they thought it’s important for brands to be clear on their communication and messaging.

If you are offering a product or service that people really want or need during the pandemic then this might just be the time for you to keep pushing with paid search, especially as competition is quietening down for many industries.

In another blog, we highlight some top tips for managing your PPC campaigns during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the SEO experts at Varn have some guidance on updating your website during Coronavirus.